Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Final Card: John Werhas

"INFIELD"... Is there anything that screams "short-timer" more than "INFIELD"? (other than "INF-OF", of course)

This is the final baseball card for John Werhas (#514). Werhas was signed by the Dodgers in 1960, and after 2 seasons in the low minors, he spent 5 seasons with the Dodgers' triple-A Spokane team, mostly as a 3rd baseman. During this time, he also played 29 games in 1964 and 4 games in 1965 with the Dodgers.

1967 was John's first full season in the major leagues. It would also be his last major-league season. After 7 games with the Dodgers, on May 10th he was traded to the Angels for outfielder Len Gabrielson. Werhas appeared in 49 games for the Angels in 1967, mostly as a backup 3rd baseman to Paul Schaal.

After spending the 1968 season with the Phillies' triple-A San Diego Padres, John played 2 seasons with the Angels' triple-A Hawaii team. He missed the 1971 season, then was back for 2 more seasons in Hawaii (by now the Padres' triple-A team).

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Final Card: Ossie Chavarria

Ossie Chavarria (#344) was a utility infielder who played a season and a half with the Kansas City Athletics.

Ossie (from Panama) was signed by the Cubs before the 1959 season, but after only 1 season in their system, was traded to Kansas City. He spent 6 seasons with various Athletics' farm teams. Primarily a 2nd baseman, he also saw significant playing time at 3rd base and shortstop, as well as occasional games at 1st base and in the outfield.

Chavarria made his major-league debut on April 14, 1966, and spent the entire 1966 season with Kansas City. In 1967, he split his time evenly between Kansas City (38 games) and triple-A Vancouver (40 games). His final major-league game was in early August 1967.

Ossie spent the next four seasons in the minors, playing for the Athletics' AAA team in 1968-69, and for the Yankees' AAA team in 1970-71. After the 1969 season, the A's traded Ossie and 1st baseman Danny Cater to the Yankees for pitcher Al Downing and catcher Frank Fernandez.

Chavarria never played for the Yankees. After the 1971 season, he was traded to the Mexico City Tigers for 3rd baseman Celerino Sanchez.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Final Card: Jake Wood

This is the final card for Jake Wood (#394), who played for the Tigers from 1961-67.

Jacob Wood was signed by the Tigers in 1957, and after 4 seasons in the minors he made his big-league debut in April 1961. Wood played in 162 games in his rookie season, starting 160 of them at 2nd base. He led the AL with 14 triples, and also with 141 strikeouts (which at the time, was the record for most strikeouts in a season). He also finished 6th in the Rookie of the Year voting. Sounds great, eh? Unfortunately, that was the high point of his career.

Jake began 1962 where he left off in 1961 - as the regular 2nd baseman. After July 24th, Wood only started 3 games at 2nd base. Dick McAuliffe (who had been the backup SS-3B the previous year) moved over to start the remaining games at 2nd base.

Wood's playing time decreased with each subsequent year. In 1963 he was still the primary 2nd baseman, but only by a slight margin over rookie George Smith. Detroit's acquisition of Jerry Lumpe from Kansas City in 1964 reduced Wood to little more than a pinch-hitter for the next 2 seasons. In 1966, Jake managed to start about 1/3 of the games at 2nd base, while Lumpe started the majority of the games there.

After appearing in only 14 games for the Tigers in 1967, Wood was sold to the Reds on June 23rd. He only saw action in 16 games with the Reds, the last on August 11th. After the season, he was sold to the Indians, but never played in the majors again. Wood spent the 1968 season with Cleveland's triple-A team, and 1969 with Detroit's double-A team before retiring.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Final Card: Hank Fischer

This is the final baseball card for Hank Fischer (#342).

Hank was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1959. After 3 seasons in the minors, he made his major-league debut in April 1962. Fischer appeared in 29 games (37 innings) for the Braves in 1962, all in relief.

Hank's playing time increased in 1963. While still primarily a reliever, he also started 6 games. In 1964, he made the transition to starting pitcher, and was #4 behind Tony Cloninger, Denny Lemaster, and the 43-year-old Warren Spahn.

Fischer was pushed down to #5 starter in 1965, due to the emergence of Wade Blasingame as a top starter and the acquisition of Ken Johnson from Houston (Spahn was gone). He also made 12 relief appearances along with his 19 starts.

In 1966, the Braves moved to Atlanta, but Fischer hardly had time to unpack. After 14 appearances, on June 15th he was traded to the Reds for veteran pitcher Joey Jay. Exactly 2 months (and 11 appearances) later, he was traded to the Red Sox for TWO players to be named later (pitchers Dick Stigman and Rollie Sheldon).

Fischer was used very little by the Red Sox. After 6 games in 1966 and 9 games in 1967, Hank called it a career. His last game was on August 8, 1967.